And the number of hospitalisations is nearly double the peak during the first wave of the deadly virus in the spring, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
It said that on Wednesday the number of patients in hospital was 100,226, while the number of positive cases was more than 13.7 million and the number of deaths more than 264,000.
California reported more than 20,000 new virus cases on Wednesday, shattering the state’s previous one-day record of 18,350.
“Any thinking person has to be worried,” Philip Landrigan, the director of a global public health program at Boston College told the New York Times.
“That we have so many hospitalisations speaks to the fact that we have done a very poor job of controlling this pandemic.
“It is spreading very rapidly, and in many places, it is basically spreading out of control.”
Distribution of vaccines in the US is set to begin as early as the middle of December.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have applied for emergency use authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration for their two-shot vaccines.
The UK approved the use of Pfizer’s drug on Wednesday, making it the first western country and one of the first globally to begin a vaccination programme.